Knowing the Bureaucratic Frankenstein

So far, no modern, complex industrial society has figured out how to run a democracy via direct popular participation, and no one has figured out how to establish a system of popular oversight of government with or without internal checks and balances sufficient to preserve government reliability. One need not, in this day, make laborious–but all too obvious–reference to the collusion, corruption, conflicts of interests pervading the stories of the current recession, the various wars, the failure of New Orleans’ dikes, and the trashing of the Gulf of Mexico by Big Oil and its Government protectors in order to underscore this point. In a word, so far, we need bureaucracy and so must, if we care to preserve democracy, keep ever in mind how dangerous a beast that organizational Frankenstein is.

Надо воздать Органам заслуженное: в век, когда речи ораторов, театральные пьесы и дамские фасоны кажутся вышедшими с конвейера, — аресты могут показаться разнообразными….

Иногда аресты кажутся даже игрой — столько положено на них избыточной выдумки, сытой энергии, а ведь жертва не сопротивлялась бы и без этого.

[Russian Library.]

One has to give the Organs their due: in an age when public speeches, the plays in our theaters, and women’s fashions all seem to have come off assembly lines, arrests can be of the most varied kind….

Sometimes arrests even seem to be a game–there is so much superfluous imagination, so much well-fed energy, invested in them. [Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (Солженицын), The Gulag Archipelago, Tr. Thomas Whitney, Vol I (N.Y.: Harper Perennial, 9-10.]

Everyone concerned about his or her civil liberties should read at least a few pages (go ahead, if you are busy, and chose at random) from “Chapter II. The History of Our Sewage Disposal System” from The Gulag Archipelago. As for what “sewage” refers to, I will leave that to you to figure out.

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